A year is a long time in the gaming industry. A year ago, goto.game started – first as an idea between Digivizer CEO Emma Lo Russo and Head of goto.game (then Digivizer Influencer Marketing Manager) Phid McAwesome. It recognised the fast-growing gaming and esports engagement and interest from more and more people – from brands and businesses as well as the gaming sector.
One year on, goto.game is a fully-fledged business with brands that include Lenovo Legion, Intel Gaming Australia and New Zealand, Intel Asia, ZOTAC Gaming, Gfinity Australia and Bethesda.
The idea was to provide gaming audiences with a destination to “go to” – for all things gaming. We created goto.game to serve three key audiences:
- Gamers and those who love to game
- Influencers & esports teams seeking special engagements, advice and opportunities
- Businesses and brands seeking services, activations, sponsorships, event support and strategic expertise in the gaming and esports industry.
By gamers, for gamers, in partnership with brands, if you like.
What does that first year look like? Who did what to whom? Who was in, and who was out? Also, who made it big, and who missed the mark?
This has been a big year with big changes in the gaming industry. Esports has seen a meteoric rise, with mainstream television broadcasting of esports. Thanks to the likes of the Gfinity Elite Series (an obvious benchmark). It was broadcast by NINE & LPL in New Zealand with numerous events broadcast on both Sky TV and Maori Television.
ESL ran their second IEM Sydney event which saw a total increase in attendance at the venue, and an online viewership that was well on its way to doubling, growing from 4,015,895 to 7,076,522.
The year, we also saw big non-endemic brands getting involved in esports via event sponsorship or team support. Uncle Jack sponsored Tainted Minds, Avant Gaming secured sponsorship from student loan supplier Study Loans and Redbull was a title sponsor of IEM Sydney.
The growth in the esports sector seems unlikely to slow down any time soon. If organisations such as the World Economic Forum are reporting on the phenomenon, it’s hit the mainstream. Not only is revenue increasingly annually, the rate of growth is increasing (according to WEF figures). Opportunities remain for those bold (and sensible!) enough to grab first-in-market advantages – now. One thing is certain: the value of esports properties in the form of teams and individuals will only increase.
All of these events were backed up of course by esports’ traditional home on Twitch. Twitch saw challenges from Microsoft’s Mixer, Facebook Gaming and the newcomer to the gaming broadcasting space, Caffeine.
Here’s how they compare: according to Streamlabs–software used by streamers–Q2 2018 saw Twitch dominate over YouTube Gaming Live, Mixer and Periscope. By the end of quarter, Twitch had 881,000 unique active streamers using Streamlabs compared to 317,000 and 37,000 for YouTube Gaming Live and Mixer.
We see Facebook as being the biggest challenger in this area with their recent push into gaming, launching FB.GG and moving towards better monetisation for gaming content creators.
Video game streaming is going strong, with streamers now being the influencers to look at for your next marketing campaign, whether your product is a gaming brand or not.
Big money in gaming
Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to generate US$71.4 billion of revenue in 2018 (a growth of 16.8% year-on-year) according to Newzoo. The region is a clear growth area given its revenue is worth 51.8% of total global revenue. Closer to goto.game’s HQ, Australia is expected to generate US$1.3 billion in revenue this year, which would make it the 14th-largest gaming market.
Given the growth, the APAC region is the right place and the right time for us as we help companies and brands get involved in the gaming industry.
When we launched goto.game, the game on everybody’s lips was PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG). Its success was marked by surpassing Dota 2’s peak concurrent users record on game distribution platform Steam. PUBG clocked in 1.3 million concurrent players just beating the record of 1.29 million.
Now, this spot has been well overtaken by Epic Games’ hugely successful Fortnite. Being widely available across all the main gaming platforms for free obviously helps. As the most-popular battle royale game, Fortnite has shown the industry that you need to stay relevant. You must expand shelf-life and keep people coming back. Fortnite has done this with in-game live events and amazing real-world marketing. They also ensured a level playing field with in-game purchases focusing on vanity items that don’t affect gameplay.
Women in gaming
While the last 12 months have been a boom for esports and gaming in general, the biggest impact in the local gaming space has been the rise of women’s empowerment.
We have seen female representation at the nation’s biggest esports event IEM Sydney, more female voices in leadership roles with the formation of the EGAA. And, of course, the creation of the Australia and New Zealand women in games support group womANZ.
While gender equality in gaming is still not where it needs to be, it’s great to see the scene make strides in the right direction.
We have actively supported gender diversity and diversity in general in the local gaming scene in the past year. We are proud to stand by this position.
Gaming is a bigger marketing opportunity than social media!
Up until this year, people saw social media as the best place to reach targets in marketing.
But, we have seen such a huge growth in gaming in the past year that we believe that gaming now provides brands with the biggest opportunity. The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) asked participants to rank their media preferences from 1 to 10. Television ranks first and movies rank second.
Interactive games rank third in households with children and equal-sixth with radio in adult-only households. In those adult-only homes with adults under 50, games rank fourth whereas they rank seventh in over-50s adult-only homes. Social media rank fifth overall with newspapers and magazines ranking lowest.
And what of goto.game itself?
In the past 12 months, we have run marketing campaigns for the huge global brands mentioned above. We ran client activations at Armageddon Auckland 2017 (over 70,000 attendees), PAX Aus 2017, IEM Sydney 2018 (7,500 attendees each day over 3 days), Computex Taipei 2018 & Gfinity Australia Elite Series 1 2018 (debuted with 500,000 viewers).
You know an industry is evolving when government gets involved. We assisted the South Australian Government launch its first ever tech and gaming event in 2017 – Hybrid World Adelaide.
In fact, in one week of July, we ran four activations in three cities, for four different companies across two hemispheres!
“The investment we have made in goto.game is paying off. The market continues to grow dramatically when measuring audience engagement, investment in prize money and competitions, and in the quality of content and entertainment value that the gamers, streamers and esports teams offer their fans. As technology and infrastructure continue to provide opportunities for this industry to grow, brands will find increasing value in all the opportunities that arise.”
Emma Lo Russo – CEO
“This year has been exciting, working alongside some of the best content creators in gaming, partnered with some amazing global brands and having the privilege to work on some great gaming events. We have our eyes on the next year being even bigger and better!”
Phid McAwesome, Head of goto.game
Our first year has been an awesome ride and we are already looking to the future ahead with excitement!